LONDON: Wimbledon will showcase all the big four of the men’s game in the second week for the first time in three years after Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray reached the last 16.
It was in 2011 that the undisputed superpowers last all made it to the business end of the tournament and the chances are that they will extend their domination of the season’s third Grand Slam event.
Lleyton Hewitt was the last man other than them to lift the trophy back in 2002. Since then, Federer has won seven and Nadal two with Djokovic and Murray taking one apiece.
On Monday, they are in fourth-round action with top seed Djokovic, the 2011 champion and runner-up to Murray 12 months ago, taking on flamboyant Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a semi-finalist in 2011 and 2012.
Djokovic, who has a 12-5 winning record over Tsonga said, “I don’t fear anything. I expect him to serve well. I think that’s his advantage.”
Nadal, the world number one and champion in 2008 and 2010, has already overcome a psychological barrier by making the second week for the first time since 2011.
He will tackle 19-year-old Australian wildcard Nick Kyrgios, the world number 144, for a place in the quarter-finals.
“Young players are very dangerous as always they have something special,” said Nadal.
Federer, who won the last of his seven Wimbledon titles in 2012, tackles Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo who has made the fourth round for the first time at the 13th attempt.
Federer has won 10 of his 11 meetings against his fellow 32-year-old.
Murray has reached the last 16 for the seventh year in succession and has dropped just 19 games in three rounds, comfortably a personal best in his tournament history.
The third-seeded Murray plays Kevin Anderson, the first South African to make the fourth round for 14 years.
Serena shocker puts Sharapova in pole position
Maria Sharapova has warned her Wimbledon title rivals she is peaking just in time to take advantage of Serena Williams’ stunning exit.
Sharapova, who has yet to drop a set after routing Alison Riske 6-3, 6-0 in the third round, heads into the second week as the newly-installed favourite following Alize Cornet’s shock 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over world number one Williams on Saturday.
Serena’s defeat is a huge boost for French Open champion Sharapova, who had been scheduled to meet the American top seed in the quarter-finals.
The Russian will face German ninth seed Angelique Kerber on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals and she struck an ominous note for her rivals by admitting she is hitting top form at just the right moment.
“I’m pleased that I’ve gone three good matches in. I feel like I improved with every match,” said Sharapova. “I started the first match a little nervous, which was expected. Once I got through that, I feel like I’ve elevated my game.
“I believe I’m serving better. I didn’t face a break point after the first game. Like I said, it’s really the footwork, little things and just imposing yourself out there.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2014.
Like Sports on Facebook, follow @ETribuneSports on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ